"Colin Meloy’s writing has always had a certain irrepressible quality to it; he might want to promote his solo gigs as camp fire concerts but his approach is that of the strident balladeer, not the miniaturist... "
Colin Meloy - Colin Meloy Sings Live!
A cosy affair this; the slightly naïve, folksy painting of Mr Meloy adorning the cover should give the game away without a note being heard. That’s not to say this compilation of acoustic gigs from 2006 is one for fans only, far from it. Colin Meloy’s writing has always had a certain irrepressible quality to it; he might want to promote his solo gigs as camp fire concerts but his approach is that of the strident balladeer, not the miniaturist (check the tremendous opening one –two of Devil’s Elbow and We Both Go Down Together as proof). In any case it’s a hard not to be won over by his set, even for casual fans like me. The combination of poppy hooks, straight forward delivery and witty, bitter sweet lyrics is always a strong combination. Whisper it, but at times I was thinking of Paul Simon rather than Meloy’s hero Mozzer…
There are lots of “what if” songs in his armoury (The Gymnast High Above the Ground or The Bachelor and the Bride) and by gum he doesn’t half give them an airing. There’s also lots of self-deprecating humour, which somehow works despite it being a tad naff now and again. The description and appraisal of the “worst song (he) ever wrote is laudable” in its honesty. We also get a Shirley Collins-inspired Barbara Allen and a bit of Fleetwood Mac. Think of that! For my money Colin Meloy leaves the best till last; duff start aside, Red Right Ankle is a fantastic love song whereas a woozy Bandit Queen rips the roof off.
An enjoyable listen, right enough.
Words: Richard Foster